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A 14-foot-high ceiling and clerestory dormer windows fill the kitchen with natural light. When illumination is needed, egg-shaped halogen pendants  do the job. Custom maple cabinetry pairs with granite and glass tile with green hues; cork floors are sustainable, durable, and comfortable underfoot.
A 14-foot-high ceiling and clerestory dormer windows fill the kitchen with natural light. When illumination is needed, egg-shaped halogen pendants do the job. Custom maple cabinetry pairs with granite and glass tile with green hues; cork floors are sustainable, durable, and comfortable underfoot. Warren Jagger

When architect Tom Hecht’s mother decided to move back to Belmont after living in Lincoln for over 30 years she wanted to build a house, and naturally, she wanted her son to design it. “She found a beautiful, very unique piece of land in a wooded, almost rural setting that’s also close to town,” says Hecht. There were two major goals to the project: The home needed to be suited to an elderly single woman and big enough to accommodate her enormous extended family — nearly three dozen people — for holidays.

The homeowner is a medical historian; her study includes built-in shelves and cabinets to store her books and display treasures collected during a life well-lived.
The homeowner is a medical historian; her study includes built-in shelves and cabinets to store her books and display treasures collected during a life well-lived. Warren Jagger

Second, the house had to be high performing with sustainable elements. To ensure the process was seamless, Hecht worked closely with Alex Slive, a partner at S + H Construction, the Cambridge-based firm that served as the builder and general contractor on the project.

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The house has thick walls and a well-insulated roof which go a long way to conserving energy; green materials were selected including locally harvested ash wood flooring. The abundant windows — each room has three exposures — offer views and sunlight while contributing to passive solar gain. Custom heating and cooling systems are based on the use and shape of each space.

The home is designed with two wings — one includes the kitchen, living, and dining spaces; the other, the master bedroom, study, and guest bedrooms — connected by a hallway lined with windows overlooking a verdant back patio. A soft palette and natural materials exude a modern feel. “The house is simple and clean,” says Slive. “While nothing is super fancy, there’s an elegance to the design.”

Landscape architect Kimberly Mercurio designed the gardens and courtyard. “My mother continues to remark on the rural character of this area,” says Tom Hecht. “She comments every day how happy she is to have this beautiful back patio and garden with uninterrupted woods behind.”
Landscape architect Kimberly Mercurio designed the gardens and courtyard. “My mother continues to remark on the rural character of this area,” says Tom Hecht. “She comments every day how happy she is to have this beautiful back patio and garden with uninterrupted woods behind.” Warren Jagger

Jaci Conry can be reached at jaci@jaciconry.com.